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September 6, 1999

Serena Williams

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

WTA: Questions for Serena.

Q. Little fright in the first set or just a matter of making some adjustments?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, basically just a matter of making some adjustments, getting my consistency together, getting myself together basically.

Q. Was she on top of her game? Were you able to test the best Conchita Martinez?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I played her better. She was definitely playing better than what she was in the past. She's definitely improved a lot. She was playing a lot better. I don't know if she was playing her best. I don't know, but she was doing pretty well.

Q. How was it out there with the weather? Seems tropical out there.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was kind of sticky out there. It was really humid. But I'm used to that weather because I live in Florida. It doesn't matter.

Q. Your thoughts on facing Monica in the next round?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Really looking forward to it. I love playing Monica. It's a great match. Whenever we play, it's always very intense and very fun. So I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Do you think in some ways it helps you to be tested the way you haven't in the last couple of rounds, having to escape from 3-5 in the last round, dropping a set today? As you go ahead, not just here, but in your career, to have these kinds of tests where you have to really -- gut checks?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think these kinds of tests are important if they should happen. It can also kind of cut your career short.

Q. Why is that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Playing too many hours out in the sun, it will definitely cut your career short. I have to get more serious, unless I want to have a shorter career. Two years, I'm out (laughter). That's a little exaggeration.

Q. What was it like out there with all the airplane noise? Was that distracting at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't remember the airplanes being that bad the day before. I don't know what was going on. There was so many passing over. Didn't bother me. I'm from Compton, California. I'm used to that, really.

Q. Do jets go over from LAX over Compton?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Kind of, sort of. There's just all kinds of other activities going on. People in the background playing basketball. There was just a lot of things happening usually. I really had no problem with it.

Q. When you face somebody like Monica Seles, does that really pump you up? Does that get you psyched?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, because now I don't have anything to lose. She's ranked better than what I am. I really don't have anything to lose. I'm really looking forward to it. It gets me more psyched up and pumped up. I tend to play better. I'm really looking forward.

Q. As you advance and this tournament goes on, is your mental approach any different? Are you more nervous because you're playing Monica than you were for the first or second round? Does it kind of rachet up every round?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I think it gets less. In the beginning rounds, it's like you're supposed to win, you have to win; whereas, the farther you get, it's more or less either the fact that you're going to win, like that. I think in the earlier rounds it might be a little more tougher than the quarterfinals or the semifinals.

Q. This is your first Grand Slam which you come in as a seeded player. Does that carry an added burden?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was seeded at the French Open. I was seeded at Wimbledon, so.

Q. But you withdrew from Wimbledon.


Q. Compared to last year, you come in this year, expectations are certainly higher. Is that added pressure or motivation?

SERENA WILLIAMS: There's no pressure on me. I don't have any pressure on me at all. I guess motivation, I don't know. I couldn't say because I'm seeded 6 this year I'm really motivated. I guess, so. It definitely doesn't add any pressure at all.

Q. Now that Steffi has retired and Jana Novotna announced her retirement, you and Venus are getting a lot of night matches, matches on show courts. Do you sense that the Tour is now different for you, you're now more prime time?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I always kind of tended to play on the show courts, really. It's really sad that we're losing two great players. They were both great for their times; had a lot of Slams between them.

Q. Do you have a favorite recollection about Jana?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I like her voice. It's the sweetest voice I've ever heard. It's like so light. You think someone with her stature, her size, how long she's been around on the Tour and stuff, I never realized that her voice was like that.

Q. Is she a pretty tough doubles player?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, she's really good in doubles. She's great. In singles, too.

Q. She had a terrific, delicate serve-and-volley game. A lot of the younger players are baseline bashers. Do you see the serve-and-volley in the future fading away? Do you think young players will emulate her style?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's fading away. I think maybe the next generation is going to bring it back, incorporate it more into the game. I think it's -- it's taken away now. I think it's going to come back. But I don't know.

Q. "Next generation" meaning you or even younger girls?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean even younger girls. I can't stick around too long. It's always going to be someone else's turn. This is my turn now. The next generation before me, they're just going to be -- it's just going to be their turn soon.

End of FastScripts….

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